Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Greek mythological prophet, Cassandra was a woman cursed with the gift of foretelling the future.

In ancient Greek stories, Cassandra was the daughter of Priam, the King of Troy. The god Apollo gave her the power to see what would happen in the future, but he also made sure that no one would believe her, so when she warned her father that the Greeks could use the Trojan Horse to take control of Troy, no one believed her. Struck by her beauty, Apollo had provided her with the gift of prophecy, but when Cassandra refused Apollo's romantic advances, he placed a curse ensuring that nobody would believe her warnings. Cassandra was then left with the knowledge of future events, but could neither alter these events nor convince others of the validity of her predictions.

Mythology is ripe with tragically sad stories. In fact, very few myths actually finish with a happy ending. However, I consider the story of Cassandra to be one of the very saddest tales of all time. Cassandra was princess of the legendary city of Troy. As was very common in Greek mythology, the god Apollo lusted after the beautiful young mortal woman and intended to make her his own. To convince her to give into his advances, he promised to bestow upon her the gift of prophecy.

While Cassandra was obviously flattered that an Olympian god sought her favors, she wasn't at all convinced that she wanted to take him as lover. Still, unable to resist the gift he offered, she eventually relented.
Apollo took Cassandra under his wing and taught her how to use her prophecies. Once her mentorship was finished, however, Cassandra refused to give her body to Apollo as promised.
Furious at being rejected by a mere mortal Apollo decided to punish her. While he couldn't take back the gift he'd already given, he could alter it. After having his way with Cassandra, the god's anger was still not satiated. So he leveled a terrible curse upon her head. While Cassandra would still be able to foresee the future, the curse ensured that no one would believe her. Worse than that, they would believe that she was purposely telling lies.
True to his word, Cassandra was able to foresee the future for herself and those around her. But every attempt she made to warn people in advance of impending doom was ignored or, worse yet, labeled as an out right lie.
Ashamed of his daughter's supposed madness, the king pronounced her insane and jailed her by locking her inside her own chambers. Denying his daughter altogether, he told many people that she had died. Others, who already knew of her predicament simply didn't care since they, too, thought she was either crazy or a pathological liar.
One of Cassandra's most important prophecies involved the fall of Troy at the hands of the Greeks and the infamous Trojan Horse. Escaping from her prison, she begged her people to believe her predictions but, once again, no one would listen.
Cassandra managed to escape from Troy and elude the raping and pillaging of the Greek's as they tore apart her home. She hid within the temple of the goddess Athena, who promised to provide shelter to her former priestess. But Ajax found the girl there, clinging helplessly to the statue of Athena and he could not resist forcing himself upon the young beauty.
The Cassandra metaphor (variously labelled the Cassandra 'syndrome', 'complex', 'phenomenon', 'predicament', 'dilemma', or 'curse'), is a term applied in situations in which valid warnings or concerns are dismissed or disbelieved.
The goddess, infuriated that such an act would happen in her sacred temple, involving someone under her protection took revenge upon Ajax. She vowed that he would never again return home. Her wrath was fulfilled when Ajax died after his ship crashed against the rocks of Gyraen.
Twice raped, labeled a liar and insane, Cassandra finally relented and gave in to her fate. She allowed Agamemnon to claim her as his concubine, considering herself a rightful spoil of the Trojan War. Although he didn't marry her, she bore him two children, twin boys named Teledamus and Pelops.
Upon return to his home shores, Agamemnon's wife Clytamnestra greeted the couple with full heroic honors. She even embraced Cassandra, promising the young girl that she would make certain her servitude would not be too difficult. However, Cassandra had foreseen her fate as well as that of Agamemnon and she chose to fight it no longer.

The heroine stood her ground outside the castle, waiting until Clytamnestra finished killing her husband and returned to murder Cassandra with the very same ax. Although she knew her children would also die, it is believed that Athena took pity on the hapless mother and blurred that particular part of her prophecy so she didn't have to witness the death of her sons.
It seems that even history wasn't very kind to the tragic heroine. Most writers condemned her as a madwoman who purposely spouted lies in order to gain attention. Many artists weren't much better, often picturing her with wild, unkept hair and a lunatic expression on her face; barely covered by dress as though she had no morals or sense of propriety.
A few, however, have taken pity on the Cassandra, portraying her more as the lost child that she was. For them, she is often shown on her knees with a helpless look that was meant to garner the pity she so richly deserved. However, she was rarely portrayed, however, as the intelligent heroine that she truly was; a victim of circumstance because she refused to play by the rules established by a group of sanctimonious and undeserving gods.


1 komentar:

Unknown said...

Thank you for your article. I am doing a research paper on forecasting (future studies) and The Cassandra Myth came up. I enjoyed reading the whole story

Post a Comment

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Best Buy Coupons